Many churches across the country celebrated Palm Sunday in unique ways, worshipping from the safety of their vehicles.
Crossroads Church in Belton, TX has been streaming their worship services, but they organized a drive-in service for Palm Sunday as a way to be together in worship.
Church pastor Holly Thrasher said, "This is our part to be able to show up together, virtually hug on each other without touching and still respecting all boundaries. It's just giving people that hope and encouragement they need."
Good morning from Crossroads drive-in Palm Sunday service! Churches are finding innovative ways to congregate in the midst of a global pandemic. pic.twitter.com/jlIL3fn9GU
— Jack Allen (@JackAllenKXXV) April 5, 2020
Cars lined the parking lot again at Great Bridge Baptist Church in Chesapeake, VA to hear Pastor Will Langford deliver a special Palm Sunday message about hope.
The church started hosting Sunday drive-in services on March 22 and has seen a remarkable increase in people attending the outdoor worship service. They plan to offer three services each Sunday as the number of gatherers continues to grow.
"This gives people the opportunity to still maintain social distancing and be a part of a live service from their car...while in a safe environment," Pastor Langford said.
Rev. Charlie Palmer with Treasure Hills Presbyterian Church in Harlingen, TX encouraged churchgoers to stay inside their vehicles while listening to his Palm Sunday message.
"It's a healthy way to gather and to praise God and to stay safe at the same time," the reverend said.
His message for the beginning of Holy Week was that God is with us during these trying times.
"We're not alone. God cares and God is working in our lives and working in our communities and working in the world around us to bring good out of all that's going on," he added.
Churches that chose to pass out palm branches on Sunday distributed them using a drive-thru method.
Shepherd of the Woods Lutheran Church in Jacksonville, FL participated in their first drive-in worship experience for Palm Sunday and carefully passed out palms to worshippers through their windows.
Jackie Hudson, the community outreach coordinator for the church, told CBN News the experience gave her a feeling of togetherness.
"We are called to be together and serve together so it reaffirmed the sense of community for me," she said.
We’ve been seeing more and more church services like this, and it’s pretty cool if you ask me. Drive-up #PalmSunday service @ Shepherd of the Woods Lutheran on the Southside. @FCN2go #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/ZhXni8OPnK
— David Jones (@DavidJonesTV) April 5, 2020
Raymond Delisle, chancellor and director of communications for the Diocese of Worcester, said some churches in the diocese had plans to safely distribute palms on Sunday but during specific times.
"Many of the churches — using the proper precautions, not having people get out of their car, having people wearing gloves and keeping a safe distance from others — will make blessed palms available during specific times," Delisle said. "It's up to each parish based on their particular circumstance, but they have to follow the safety protocols so that people are still protected."
Saint Peter Catholic Church in Worchester, MA did not distribute palms but Live-streamed their worship service, while keeping the palms visible.
Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh, PA kept a bucketful of palms ready to pass out as vehicles approached the curb in front of the church.
While practicing protective measures, church members at Saint Michael The Archangel Catholic Church in Glen Allen, VA placed palms in the trunks of cars as they quickly drove up to receive their symbol of the celebration that once greeted Jesus as He entered Jerusalem.
Father Dan Brady said, "The palm is such a significant symbol for us as Christians of Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem just before He was going to have to face His death on the cross."
The number of churches participating in drive-in worship services is expected to increase for Easter Sunday on April 12.
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